Pills or Paleo? Reversing High Blood Pressure
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Pills or Paleo? Reversing High Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure is the single most important risk factor for premature death, and 9 in 10 Americans are expected to develop it by age 65. Yet medications are often ineffective, and can cause significant side effects. Find out how a Paleo diet and lifestyle can help you reverse high blood pressure naturally.

Can high blood pressure be reversed?
Can high blood pressure be reversed? Nutrient dense whole foods can help. Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

This article is part of an ongoing series comparing prescription medication with a Paleo diet as a means of treating common diseases and health problem. Click here to read the other articles in the series.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most important risk factor for premature death, accounting for half of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and 13.5 percent of all deaths each year. It affects 26 percent of the population worldwide, and one-third of the population in the U.S. Nine in ten Americans are expected to develop high blood pressure by the age of sixty-five. With this in mind, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that keeping your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to extend your lifespan.

Like most other chronic diseases, high blood pressure is caused by a mismatch between our genes and the modern diet and lifestyle.

High blood pressure affects only one percent of hunter-gatherer populations following a traditional diet, but its prevalence increases when those cultures adopt a western diet and lifestyle that is characterized by processed and refined foods, sedentary behavior, chronic sleep deprivation, a lack of sun exposure and excess use of caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. (1)

Did you know that high blood pressure can often be improved or even reversed with simple diet and lifestyle changes? Find out more.

With this in mind, let’s compare conventional medications with a Paleo diet and lifestyle as treatments for high blood pressure.

Conventional Treatment for High Blood Pressure

Current guidelines in the U.S. and most industrialized countries recommend treatment of “prehypertension” (aka mild or borderline hypertension). However, a review of clinical trials by the prestigious Cochrane Collaboration found that treating mild hypertension with drugs did not reduce the risk of death or disease. (2) Unfortunately, the guidelines have not been revised and most physicians continue to prescribe medication for prehypertension despite the lack of evidence supporting this practice.

Blood pressure medications can be effective in more pronounced cases of hypertension (referred to as “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” hypertension, depending on the severity). But “effective” is somewhat of a deceptive term, because while blood pressure medications do reduce blood pressure, they do not address the underlying cause of the high blood pressure in the first place.

And I would argue that any treatment that does not address the underlying cause of a problem is ultimately ineffective.

What’s more, blood pressure medications are notorious for their side effects. These vary depending on the class of medication taken. For example:

  • Diuretics flush extra water and sodium from the body. Their side effects include frequent urination; erectile dysfunction; weakness, leg cramps, or fatigue; and, gout.
  • Beta-blockers make your heart beat more slowly and less forcefully. Their side effects include asthma symptoms, cold hands and feet, depression, erectile dysfunction, and insomnia and sleep problems.
  • Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors block formation of a hormone that causes blood vessels to narrow. Their side effects include a dry, hacking cough that won’t go away; skin rash; and, loss of taste.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) keep calcium from entering the heart muscle and blood vessel cells. Their side effects include constipation, dizziness, headache, palpitations, and swollen ankles.

Unfortunately, in many cases more than one class of medications is used so the chance of experiencing several side effects increases significantly.

As you can see, using medication to treat high blood pressure is either ineffective (in the case of pre-hypertension), or plagued with the potential for side effects that can make life very unpleasant.

The Paleo Diet and Lifestyle for Reversing High Blood Pressure

Fortunately, high blood pressure can often be improved or even completely reversed by returning to a diet and lifestyle that is more consistent with our evolutionary heritage.

A Paleo diet and lifestyle is an excellent starting place for those wishing to embrace a natural approach to lowering blood pressure. We know this because hypertension is virtually unheard of in hunter-gatherer and pastoralist cultures. Moreover, clinical studies have found that the Paleo diet is effective in reducing blood pressure. (3, 4)

Here are some specific considerations to keep in mind:

Sugar

Increased consumption of sugar—especially sugar-sweetened beverages like soda—is associated with high blood pressure, and reducing sugar intake has been shown to lower blood pressure. (5) Those with high blood pressure should be particularly mindful about reducing their consumption of added sugars.

Potassium

High dietary intake of potassium is associated with lower blood pressure. In fact, many researchers believe that the protective effects of potassium are one of the major reasons why hunter-gatherers like the Kalahari Bushmen and traditional pygmies of Sub-Saharan Africa have such a low incidence of high blood pressure. In Paleolithic diets, the average daily intake of potassium was approximately 10,500 mg/d. In comparison, the average American consumes about 2,800 mg/d. (6)

In the U.S., increasing potassium intake alone would decrease the number of adults with high blood pressure by 17 percent, and increase life expectancy by five years for over 12 million Americans.

The highest sources of potassium in a Paleo-type diet are potatoes, halibut, plantains, rockfish, sweet potato, salmon, and beet greens.

Magnesium

A high dietary intake of magnesium has been shown to reduce blood pressure, though its effect is not as strong as what is observed with potassium. Nuts, seeds, spinach, beet greens, and chocolate are the highest food sources of magnesium on a Paleo diet.

Salt

We’ve been told for years that a high salt intake is one of the primary risk factors for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, but it’s time to shake up the salt myth. Though some studies do suggest that restricting salt can lower blood pressure, the evidence supporting a connection between salt intake and cardiovascular disease is weak at best. What’s more, some evidence suggests that restricting salt too much may be harmful to our health. Click here to read my special report on salt and its relationship to blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

So far we’ve focused on diet, but lifestyle modification is equally important for regulating blood pressure. For example:

  • Exercise and sitting less are both associated with lower blood pressure (7)
  • Both short sleep duration and poor sleep quality increase the risk that you’ll develop high blood pressure. (8)
  • Exposure to sunlight increases the production of a chemical in our bodies called nitric oxide, which in turn lowers blood pressure. (9)
  • Several studies have shown that meditation can be effective for lowering blood pressure, possibly via its relaxing effects on the nervous system. (10)

All of these treatments are free of side effects (unless you call losing weight, having more energy, and looking better “side effects”), and unlike medications, they actually address the underlying cause of high blood pressure. And that explains why they can be so effective, as the following story sent in by reader Jeff Lines suggests:

In October 1991 I was admitted and spent several days in hospital for hypertension and high blood pressure and was placed on blood pressure medicine. In 2006 I had a sextuple bypass and was placed on statin drugs.

I’ve always researched more natural paths and my wife and I ate what was classified a healthy diet, but we have both struggled with weight and other conditions. I had read about Paleo diets, but as most diets go most of the articles and books where pretty strict about what you could eat. While researching Paleo, I came across an article by Chris and what I liked about it is the whole idea of customizing the diet to you. That article led me to ChrisKresser.com and the blog and that led me to buy his book.

That gave me the initiative to start the diet. By the time I went in to see the cardiologist a few weeks later my weight had dropped to 210 so I lost 15 pounds pretty quickly and I noticed my blood pressure had dropped. I started monitoring my blood pressure on a daily basis and noticed it was staying pretty low so I cut my blood pressure medicine in half. The cholesterol test came in about 75 points below my previous test several weeks earlier.

My next follow-up appointment with my cardiologist was about a month after the first. By then I’d lost another 10 pounds. I expressed elation over the drop in cholesterol and told him I had cut my blood pressure medicine in half.

I’m currently down to about 192 and have been off of blood pressure medicine since the end of June.

Jeff’s experience is not unusual. In fact, I see similar results in my work with patients every day.

So what will it be for you? Pills, or Paleo?

If your answer is Paleo, make sure to check out my book (just published in paperback with a new name: The Paleo Cure) for a detailed explanation of how to use Paleo to prevent and reverse disease and feel better than you have in years. And don’t miss the bonus chapter on addressing high blood pressure with diet, lifestyle, and supplements.

As always, check with your doctor before starting or stopping any new treatment plan—including what I’ve suggested in this article. This is not intended to be medical advice, and is not a substitute for being under the care of a physician.

  1. I am sick as a dog right now. I am having high BP and high blood sugar. I have T2 diabetes, hypertension, Graves disease with RAI so am on levo 175 mcg. Levemire 140u a.m and p.m, I have a bad racing heart due to a calcified heart valve and take Metoprolol Succ ER 50mg X 2. I also have gouty arthritis in R hand and take 2 Allipurinol a day. I have Lasix I take rarely for edema. Have asthma, Am obese, 5’2″ 224lbs. I am not active as I should be. The crime rate in my area stopped my walking which was my favorite exercise ever plus dancing. I am mildly depressed and have fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis plus anxiety and panic attacks so I am a total mess all the way around but I am strong and do something every day even if I feel like death warmed over..

    For a few months now I am wakened to 110 P, 160/90 bp and 275 bg and feel like death is imminent. My neck and shoulders ache and sometimes my jaw aches.. I went thru a whole bunch of heart tests and was blown off even tho it showed some problems. I’m a 61 yr old female with a fairly stress free life at times with bouts of extreme stress.

    I eat mostly low carb, high fat, medium protein. I avoid grains, sugar and starchy veggies. I take suppliments including a good multi, Tart cherry, Magnesium, B-complex, VitC D3, Fish oil, Turmeric, ginger and Lutein. I am always researching and looking for natural healing instead of prescriptions but I am forced to take them. I especially hate the Metoprolol.. I feel it caused my high BP because when I miss or am late on a pill my BP elevates and I feel cruddy..

    I really need help. Thanks for the good info I am reading it all!!

  2. Thank you for the wonderful blog and helpful articles. They are really needed as I am struggling with my blood pressure lately. So glad you shared that sunlight helps lower blood pressure, I had no idea! I have noticed that my blood sugar rises significantly when my heart goes into Atria Fibrillation. Back in 2010, after suffering a couple transient strokes, my doctor ran a series of tests. After a cat scan, they discovered an unruptured brain aneurism. I must be a slow learner because it finally dawned on me that my symptoms of feeling like my heart was going to explode, while simultaneously feeling like the blood vessels in my head were going to burst, was due to high blood pressure. I just thought it was the Afib. Also every blood pressure test I have ever had shows no sign of HB. Nonetheless, these symptoms always occur when I have been having a lot of Atrial Fibrillation. I didn’t realize how dangerous this was until a few days ago when i was sharing these symptoms with a 71 year old friend. She was so alarmed that she said to me, “Do you have a death wish, or do you just want someone to change your diaper?” Several hours later I was in Atrial fibrillation and I was beginning to get those horrible symptoms again. When I am at this point, I really need someone to help me because standing up is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, it was 4 am, and I never like to disturb my husband at those hours even when I feel like I am dying. But due to my friend’s sincere warning to take better care of myself, I called out to my husband for help. He immediately started making me some natural blood thinners. We have a juicer so he made me a drink that had: ginger root (to thin my blood and prevent clots) celery (to lower my blood pressure) apples, carrots, and greens (I think, or at least that is what we usually put into drinks since they are high in potassium). Within an hour after having this concoction along with some fruit, my blood pressure was normal and my heart was much calmer. Not in rhythm yet, but much less symptomatic. Since the root of my heart condition is caused by a potassium deficiency, I have a hard time going without potatoes. I know that they do spike my blood sugar and this is not a good thing as increased sugar levels can trigger potassium loss within the cells and other triglyceride issues. However, for me to not have the potatoes which are so high in potassium would be worse since potassium is the main mineral for a steady heart beat. To circumvent this, I add raw jalapeno peppers to my potatoes. They can be a pain to work with (I once thought i was going to die from rubbing my eyes after chopping them, since I forgot to wash my hands with soap afterwards). However, I find that when I add them or raw scallions or onions to my potatoes, my sugar levels do not spike. I used to do this same process with raw garlic, but have found that garlic lowers my potassium levels. i also find that I am low in B vitamins, but red quinoa is loaded in them and it helps prevent heart episodes since it calms the nervous system. My other go-to remedy for Atrial Fibrillation is to eat a lot of rutabagas in soups. They have been found to prevent strokes and when i have a heart episode, a few bowls of this soup will get my heart in rhythm in no time. On the other hand, if I fail to make this soup and I am in Atrial fibrillation, my heart will be in that awful place for 24-48 hours. Sorry my comments are so unrelated to a paleo diet, but they do relate to blood pressure and natural remedies instead of medication. On a side note, anyone having to be on Coumadin due to blood clots or stroke ( I was on this drug for 3+ months) and it had horrible side effects. Thankfully, I discovered cayenne pepper and have been free from that drug and have not had any TIAs in nearly 5 years. Lastly, I find that Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (diluted in water) really helps lower my blood pressure and it seems to clarify the heart cells, cleansing them of fats. Studies have shown that excess fats in the diet coat the cells, keeping them from functioning properly and lowering the oxygen levels in the blood. My favorite fats that really help my heart are chia seeds, flax seed, avocados, sesame seeds and butternut squash. Avocados have more soluble fiber than oatmeal. Other types of fiber cleanse the colon, while the soluble fiber in avocadoes and oats cleanse the arteries. I mentioned sesame seeds and butternut squash because they are both very high in vitamin E which protects the heart. Butternut squash does not contain overt fats but the fact that it is so nutrient dense and high in vitamin E and anti aging to the skin, puts it in that category for me. Growing up I knew something was amiss with my health because I had spider veins on my legs at the age of 12. i remember asking my friends about them and hearing one say that was something old people have. Now I think the reason I have them is two fold, I inherited small veins and i have a vitamin C deficiency. This has most likely not helped my heart condition either. So growing up my mom would try to help my veins by getting me to eat lots of citrus fruit and always making sure I ate the white pithy part on oranges, grapefruits and lemons. To this day that is a habit. My husband said to me the other day, you clean a grapefruit like no other! I am sure this habit has prevented my heart condition from becoming much worse. Simply peal your citrus fruits much thinner, leaving as much of the white on as possible. The white has no taste at all and does not spoil the flavor of the fruit. The other habit I recommend is to eat a lot of pomegranate fruit. Scientists did a recent study and found that those who ate the fruit regularly had healed their heart lesions in the span of a year, while those who did not consume the fruit, the heart lesions worsened. For more info on Atrial Fibrillation, I wrote this article in 2012. I probably need to update it. I also explain, in this article, why i believe that potassium supplements can be dangerous and its best to avoid them, getting your potassium strictly from fruits and vegetables (my potassium favorite foods are: non fat plain yogurt, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, spinach, mushrooms, figs, apricots, watermelon, bananas, almonds, salmon, avocados, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, asparagus, brewers yeast (I sprinkle this on my potatoes and salads it adds a cheesy, salty taste), and celery. Here is the link to the article I mentioned: http://www.mountainhomenews.com/story/1871300.html

    Sorry for being long winded. Hope this helps.

    • Hi thank you for sharing your experiences
      I have just been diagnosed with high bp and medicated with triplixam
      It has given me the big kick up the ass i need
      I am 55 over weight and dont exercise
      So i want to try and reduce if not reverse my high bp
      I may be being too optimistic but i have to try

  3. I have recently been prescribed various medications that were dreadful and greatly interfered with my ability to do my job or anything else. I am reading the book and trying to find the bonus chapter on high blood pressure mentioned in the book, but cannot find this on the website. Can anyone help me locate this? The comments from people who are able to get off medication is very encouraging. My blood pressure drops to normal after vigorous exercise, but then goes up…especially in the doctor’s office!

  4. My father was dxed with hypertension when he was 17 years old, and all of his uncles but 2 died by the time they were 50
    I’d like to know how one goes about getting a test for the MTHF
    mutation. Can a person go to their primary Dr. to get this test?

  5. If you’ve tried all the above and still have HBP then try a supplement containing the herb Raufolia.

    Two such products are BP NatRelief and Carditone.

    The first was recommended by a holistic M.D,, Dr. Adrian Hohenwarter and is available on his website.

    It worked for my wife when all else failed.

  6. Great article! I find coconut water very helpful to help me meet my potassium needs. Especially, because i am pretty active.

  7. I have a congenital heart defect and I’ve also had HBP for
    many years, and I also take a high dose of thyroid hormone
    due to hypothyroidism, I guess that means I shouldn’t go
    real low carb, should I. I keep my carb intake to around 55-65gms a day. I’ve also lost 4 pounds, which isn’t bad, but I
    have a strong family history of strokes that go way back. I
    think the Paleo isn’t a bad diet for some people.

  8. This is just great, but there needs to be some caution and understanding here – I am a huge proponent of Paleo/Primal diet & lifestyle, BUT: Paleo isn’t always the only/perfect/complete prescription for dealing with HBP and neither is it a one-size-fits-all proposition. For example: high blood pressure runs in my family (both sides, both parents, all four grandparents). One grandparent took BP medication every day for decades and lived to be 99 (in good mental health all the way, excellent physical health well into the 90’s). I am in my 50’s, have watched my blood pressure creep up since my mid-30’s. Despite (always) being very active with running, biking, swimming, lifting weights, eating a lot (and I mean 8 to 12 “servings”) daily of raw or lightly cooked, mostly organic fruits and vegetables – and going Paleo-ish nearly four years ago (no grains/legumes, but a little dairy here and there) and losing weight, my blood pressure has NOT come down to the point where I can stop taking medication. (By the way, my blood work, i.e. cholesterol, is exemplary.) So, the implication should NOT be that Paleo is “the” solution to HBP, and certainly not the follow-on implication that maybe one is doing it wrong if a Paleo diet and lifestyle still hasn’t made getting off BP meds possible. I’d rather take them and have my BP well controlled, than end up in the ER with BP of 230/120 (true story) when I was attempting to deal with it through diet and lifestyle alone. Dealing with occasionally (and slightly) swollen ankles from one of the meds seems like a pretty small trade-off and I really haven’t experienced any noticeable side effects beyond that. We should not feel (or be made to feel) that we’re not Paleo “enough” if we need to be on medication that could save us from a catastrophic stroke (what happened to most of the rest of my family – those who would neither modify diet & habits, nor take medication).

    • You need to be re-evaluated. Maybe get better insight to your “genetic” predisposition and your current methods.

      • Hi, Dr John, thanks for the comment – can you be more specific about being re-evaluated (tests? what kind?) , and why you think there may be a question about the hereditary/genetic component given all of my immediate family have had blood pressure issues and 3 of 4 grandparents (plus one parent) died as a result of having strokes, one fairly young (I am referring to your quotation marks around genetic) – ? Diets and habits across these family members varied, too – from SAD to Mediterranean diet, to vegetarian; teetotaler to smoker/drinker.

        • Similar family history; both sides die from heart disease, not cancer. I’ve gone from uncontrolled HP on 2 meds, to 1/4 dose on one med…with a healthy, primary foods diet and a normal BMI. I’d like to be off of the meds altogether, but this is GREAT as it is.

  9. Husband was put on BP meds years ago & suffers some of listed side effects. In the last few years, his diet and lifestyle have changed drastically toward suggested paths. What is suggested process for going off the meds to see if the changes have done the trick? He did quit the diuretic within the last year. His BP is always stable on the meds. Is there a suggestion for reduction, result, reduction result?

    • I asked my doctor about weaning from the Prinivil when my blood pressure was normal and after I had dropped the diuretic. He said one of the aspects of that drug might be protective of the kidneys. I went off the drug as an experiment. He ordered a blood test three months later and my C-reactive Protein had risen (inflammation). I went back on a half-dose and three months later my crp had fallen halfway back to where it had been. I am now back on the original 10mg of Prinivil. That was 7-8 years ago. Now I’m 64 and starting to get high-normal BP readings. I am T2 diabetic and eat 50-100 carbs/day which seems to control it well. Looking at tweaking nutrients now. Hope this helps!

  10. My fiance has hypertension that is induced by exercise and stressful events. We have been on the paleo diet for over a year and we do crossfit. We can take his blood pressure at home and it will be totally normal. However when he gets it taken at the doctors office, it will be very high. If they take it later on the appointment, it is usually lower. He did a stress test and his blood pressure got so high that the doctor told him that if he wasn’t put on medication, he could have a stroke during exercise. He is 27 years old, 6 ft 4 and 240 pounds so he is a big, muscular guy but he does have a little bit of extra body fat. They put him on a calcium channel blocker and he has been taking that ever since his stress test. I have tried to look into supplements or treatment options but I’m not sure where to look for this! If anyone has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.

    • Erin, I can relate to your Fiance’s problem. I too suffered with white coat hypertension and hypertension in stressful situations. I have for some time refused to take BP medication. I have a very good natural therapist who i am able to consult about many things. I found taking vitamin B3 to be of great help and keeping up my magnesium levels.
      B3 being a key vitamin for adequate nerve health.

    • Probably over training. CrossFit isn’t especially effective for losing weight. Cortisol spike from insane efforts causes you to eat more… to greatly simplify.
      Do more more relaxing activities. Excercise with a hrm. Monitor your HRV and if hrv drops reduce intensity of exercise. You need to get in tune with your body.
      This will also make it easier to lose weight which will help bp.
      Strongly consider fasting. Google Jason fung.

  11. If anyone doubts that the Paleo diet won’t lower the Blood Pressure, doubt no more. I started following Paleo in March 2014. Last week, I told my doctor I wasn’t taking my meds. anymore. I showed him my record I keep. He was pleased with it and said as long as it stays down, OK. I realize coming off by myself isn’t the best move, but it was gradual anyway. But losing weight and eating real food was what did it.

  12. Thank you Chris for this timely article! I did not know that sunlight exposure helped, thank you for this (new to me) information.
    After the Holidays, during which we were somewhat careless, my husband’s BP shot up to an alarming 200/105. We have been lowering it steadily albeit slowly by cutting out all grains and of course all added sugar, increasing veggies, and increasing exercise and potassium. He already takes potassium and magnesium, among other things, but we increased potassium for 2 days to hopefully knock it down a bit quickly – it did. It is now down to 145/85 after a week.
    For those reading, we eat organic or better, and use Celtic sea salt, yet our carelessness (organic cookies, made with regular flour, after dinner) caused this issue, so it is no joke and it is no lie that for some people grains and sugar alone can increase blood pressure in those that are susceptible.

  13. My husbands aunt had a stroke high blood pressure and diabetes… I put her on the Paleo diet and a year later she was med free!!! Sadly she’s dropped the Paleo Diet and is headed back to the meds and or another stroke… sadly strokes mess with logic… she insists she never had diabetes… 🙁

  14. Genetic testing is an essential thing to do for BP if not all health issues. My BP has risen steadily over the past 20 years with rare spikes to 200/100. Father and GF died of strokes in their 60’s. I found I have the MTHFR mutation (compound hetero) plus homozygous for the ACE and MOA mutations all of which add to BP issues. I am on small doses of ACE inhibitor and T3. Since being on supplementation for the MTHFR, my BP has stabilized between 120-140/70. I also do all of the lifestyle things recommended.

  15. Hypertension is such a frustrating thing to deal with.

    I’m 43, weigh 160 pounds, lift primal 4 times a week, do cardio 3 days a week (short duration, with intervals), and am on 3 med’s. My bloodwork came back fine (thryoid, HbA1c, etc.). I’ve been eating paleo (actually Perfect Health Diet) for almost 2 years now and can’t seem to get off the meds. I also supplement with Magnesium (among other supplements).

    Chris, are there any specific blood tests that should be performed to determine the cause of HBP, other than it being “essential” (i.e. we have no idea)?

  16. I have been on HTN meds for so long – 25 years, give or take. I would love to get off them. But it doesn’t seem possible. At one point, I tried to lower them and my numbers went up. I exercise 2-3x week & have a job where I’m up and down all day long. Are there some people who can’t be helped? I have been vegetarian for 20 yrs – very little processed food, BMI/wt. is within range, too. I am going for veganism now and have achieved about 85%. Still use some cheese, occasional ice cream Thank you.

    • Pls read Nutrition And Physical Degeneration fm Weston A. Price. It is public domain and downloadable fm the net for free. Veganism will surely not help you. Quite the contrary. And of course then read Chris ´ book. If anyone can help you, It ´s him. My BP 3 years ago 140/100. Now 117/75. Never took pills. Went paleo cold turkey and all in. 100 Pct compliant.

    • Consider that the revered (by veg people) Andreas Moritz dropped dead at 58. The videos i’ve seen of him show a sickly weak person.

  17. I’m a big fan! I’m wondering if you have any research/studies that show that paleo helps lower blood pressure in individuals with left ventricular hypertrophy. This individual exercises regularly, is at a healthy weight, but has a family history of cardiac issues. He is being placed on medications by his doctor but is reluctant to take them. Any hope he can battle this without medication?

  18. I was on High Blood Pressure medication and had many health problems but I do not know yet if the cause of my problems were that medication. I quit taking them, change my diet for paleo and my blood pressure went down as well as my weight!!

  19. Common cause of HBP is hypothyroid sometimes caused by low carb paleo. So in that sense added sugar and/or carbs could actually be of value.

    • There are several studies that show that keto diets (e.g. VLC) long term will suppress T3, the active thyroid hormone, which will also increase rT3 along with carb-depleted diets. This will induce a state of hypothyrodism as a protective mechanism as the body thinks it’s in starvation mode. That hypothyroidism will then cause hypertnesion, especially diastolic. Unless you’re unable to convert T4 to T3, taking exogenous synthetic T3 may make things worse in this case. Maintaining some “safe carbs” (non-processed) or practicing carb cycling, backloading, or refeeds prevent this.

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